beach

Bombay Beach California Photo Tour

Bombay Beach California Photo Tour

Unlike any other beach

A place long past its hey day, Bombay Beach, for the curiosity seeker, can still hold a lot of interest. The beach itself looks like the wasted remnants of a beautiful sandy beach. Even the rock jetties and wooden posts have fallen into an eerie decay. It feels like a place that has suffered a horror, and that feeling is tangible to the visitor. Stride away from the water and come across a ghost ship, a mysterious cube suspended within a cube, and other assorted random forgotten things made into art or just forgotten memory. Bombay Beach is no longer a vacation destination, but definitely a place to seek out, experience, and then get out before one becomes part of the lost landscape.

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Salton Sea California Drone Video and Aerial Photos

Salton Sea California Drone Video and Aerial Photos

Electric Blue Water Graveyard Sand

Southern California is a place of unbelievable environments that seemingly appear out of nowhere. Driving down the highway and there appears towering and endless sand dunes. Drive another direction and the desert gives way to a vast expanse of electric blue water surround by haunted white sand. See this, and you are looking at the Salton Sea. Saltier than the ocean, mysterious, and graveyards for beaches, the Salton Sea holds as much to view as it does to think about. Look closely at the beach photos below. The sand is made from infinite fish skeletons. There was a mile long line of these poor fish lying bleached in the sun. They get ground up and added to the granules of sand.

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Lake Worth Pier Florida

Lake Worth Pier Florida

Kiki and I took a weekend trip over to the West Palm Beach area of Florida to check out a dog beach near Juno.  The night before we happened to come across a scenic ocean park that lead to a pier.  Though this is officially the Lake Worth Pier, it is most know for Benny's on the Beach restaurant.  I liked how this pier retains the classic look of old Florida from the 1960s.  It suits the beach scene well better than modern looking piers and structure on piers.

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Bilmar Beach Resort Sunset Portraits Treasure Island Florida with couple from Utah

Visiting all the way from Utah, Matt & Shanna have fun at Bilmar Beach Resort during our sunset portrait session - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/250th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame right front & SB-600 to frame right rearIt would seem the Bilmar Beach Resort is a popular hotel with out of state visitors as the last time I did a sunset beach portraits session there it was with someone visiting from Chicago.  This time, a couple all the way from Utah was staying on Treasure Island and met me for a candid couples beach sunset portait shoot.  There are few things I am lucky with in life, but having good weather at sunset time is one of them.  Just the night before it was raining all evening.  As you can see, no rain in sight thankfully!

Twilight beach portrait at Bilmar Beach Resort Treasure Island Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/60th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame left front & SB-600 to frame right rearBeing a Tuesday evening in September as well, there were few people on the beach allowing for wide shots like the one above to not require any tricky people removing editing in the background.  The twilight sky was also very beautiful.  We stayed a little extra longer to get the above shot.

Leaning in for a kiss at Bilmar Beach Resort Treasure Island Florida during sunset portraits - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/5 ISO 200 1/200th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame right front & SB-600 to frame left rearIt was a fun session with Shanna and Matt and I am always glad to be able to help people remember their time in Florida through photographs.

Madeira Beach Florida Sunset Beach Portraits with Paula & Family

All smiles for this family on Madeira Beach during their sunset portrait session in Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/250th - Strobist: SB-800 & SB-600 @ 1/2 powerIt had been awhile since I had a sunset family beach portrait session on Madeira Beach, so it was good to meet Paula and family there recently, although once facing the Gulf of Mexico, pretty much every beach on the Pinellas peninsula looks the same!  The family-in-a-row was a new style photograph for me.  I am always looking for new ways to photograph families on the beach and adding as much variety to a family's set of shots as possible.  I like this in-a-row composition and will definitely be adding it to my already existing set of shots.

Sisters all stacked up on Madeira Beach during a fun family beach portraits session - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/4 ISO 200 1/640th - natural lightAll three sisters stacked themselves up and were bookended by their parents.  I encourage families to physically interact as much as possible to add a natural and fun look to shots.  The more you come into physical contact, the better the results is typically how it goes.  Just standing stiffly side-by-side is something I try to avoid at all costs.

Family togetherness on Madeira Beach in Florida during a sunset portrait session - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/4 ISO 200 1/500th - natural lightI wonder if in 20 years these sisters will remember what they were laughing about in this moment.  I hope they can.  That is the potential power of a still photograph.

A beautiful sunset on Madeira Beach Florida for family portraits - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/200th - Strobist: SB-800 & SB-600 @ 1/2 powerFor me personally (and as a photographer), I prefer there to be some clouds along the horizon and in the sky in general for sunset portraits.

Sisters jumping on Madeira Beach during a family beach sunset portrait session in Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/7.1 ISO 200 1/200th - Strobist: SB-800 & SB-600 @ 1/2 powerI think these three sisters jumped the highest I have ever seen for a jumping photograph of this nature.  Madeira Beach and mother nature provided a very nice backdrop for this family beach sunset portrait session.

John's Pass Madeira Beach Large 12-person Family Beach Portraits Florida

Just the adults from a John's Pass Beach family portrait session - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/60th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame left & SB-600 to frame rightThe weather was fine all day as I made my way to the beach at John's Pass to meet a 12-person family all from Canada for family beach portraits.  However, once on the beach there were storm clouds everywhere to the south, west and north, but none passed over until the shoot was finished.  Lucky again!  In this shoot I really tried to stress avoiding just having people line up side by side (the picket fence look) and asked for more hands on interaction, like in the above shot.  I placed the man in the pink shirt on the sand first, and then had everyone else stack on top of him.

Sisters having fun on Madeira Beach Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/7.1 ISO 200 1/60th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame left & SB-600 to frame rightThese sisters needed no prompting to take up a more fun pose on the beach.  The challenge with them was getting them to do something not too crazy with each other!

Just the boys during this Madeira Beach family portrait session - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/7.1 ISO 200 1/60th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame left & SB-600 to frame rightOnly the guys in this shot and the best way to keep two active boys under somewhat control is to have them under wraps!

All twelve family members walking down Madeira Beach at John's Pass Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/4 ISO 800 1/500thThe whole 12-person family walking down the beach.  Overlap by someone walking too fast is a concern in these shots, so I instructed everyone to walk at the same pace and not get in front of each other.  By the second take they had gotten it down.

Cousins all stacked up on Madeira Beach family portraits Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/7.1 ISO 200 1/60th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame left & SB-600 to frame rightNothing like a small stack of cousins as the kids when on their own in front of the lens seemed to be more willing to smile and stay put.

The whole family portrait all 12 on Madeira Beach Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 1/200th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame left & SB-600 to frame rightThis was actually the first shot of the evening, everyone together in a large group shot by the sea grass.  Even in this type of shot I encouraged some overlap getting everyone to sit as close to each other as possible to show more emotional connection between the family.

Sunset Beach Engagement Session Treasure Island Florida Candid Portraits

Engagement portrait session on Sunset Beach Treasure Island Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/125th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame left & SB-600 to frame rightThis past Saturday I photographed one of my family members professionally for the first time!  My cousin whom I have not seen in over a decade due to living in different parts of the country moved down here to the Tampa Bay area.  She got engaged and contaced me about an engagement shoot on Sunset Beach in Treasure Island Florida.  I said sure, sounds great, you bring the romance and I will take care of the rest!

Candid portrait during an engagement shoot with my cousin on Sunset Beach Treasure Island - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/6.3 ISO 200 1/200th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame right front & SB-600 to rear frame rightThey did their homework and had several photo ideas they wanted to try out, which is fine with me as I am always looking for new shot ideas myself.  It was a frigid day, actually the coldest of the year, but they dressed Florida style anyway and were real pros!

Sun melting engagement photo on Treasure Island Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 1/250th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame left & SB-600 to frame rightAs requested, they brought the romance allowing me to make candid portraits like the one above.  I wanted to have the sun melt through the couple in this shot adding to the impact of the overall image.

Dramatic sunset background engagement shoot on Treasure Island Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/125th - Strobist: see setup in photo belowBesides being cold, it was incredibly windy, but at least Mother Nature also provided a classic dramatic Florida sunset to use as a background in the photographs.  I prefer there to be clouds in the sky as well, as I feel it adds more interest than if the sky were cloudless.

My unique two strobe setup for making my signature sunset portraits on Treasure Island FloridaI remembered to make a quick shot of my strobist setup this time.  As you can see, I use two speedlights in my off camera flash technique for sunset portraits.  There are just diffuser caps on the strobes as it was far too windy for an umbrella or anything like that.  

Getting a kiss from their dog during our candid portrait session - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/200th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame left & SB-600 to frame rightMy cousin and her fiance brought their dog, Bear, who was a good boy and watched patiently until it was his time to be in front of the lens where he immediately started dishing out big kisses!

Engagement shoot in Florida, but wedding in Rhode Island! - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/200th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame left & SB-600 to frame rightMy cousin, like me, was born in Rhode Island and will have her wedding actual up in the Ocean State.  It was great to reconnect with her, and her mom (my aunt) made a surprise visit too!  It was a real reunion and a very fun engagement portrait session.